Teen Denied New Prosthetic Legs
PINEVILLE, N.C. - Joey Funderburk sky dives. He travels. When he was little, he even roller bladed. He says, "Nothing stops me, I call myself an ATM: all terrain man!"
Born in Romania with a birth defect that left him with under-developed legs, Joey spent the first six years of his life in an orphanage. Hickory Grove, SC resident Chrystal Funderburk brought him to the Carolinas where he had surgery in Charlotte and got his first pair of prosthetics.
Now, at 19, Joey is too tall and too heavy for his legs, which are intended for a child, not a six foot tall young man. He says, "I can fall at a moment's notice. I opened up a cabinet the other day, just standing still, opened it and fell."
Joey falls backward, without any notice. He can't catch himself or do anything to break his fall. Chrystal, who ended up adopting Joey, says, "Of course it makes you concerned for his safety, but I believe in the power of prayer."
She says a new set of legs will cost $120,000. Insurance has denied the family's claim three times because, they say, there has been "no change" in Joey's medical condition. Even if they did accept the claim, they'd only pay $50,000.
So Joey turned to donuts. "Krispy Kreme donuts, glazed Krispy Kreme donuts, a dozen in a box. I sell them for seven dollars a box."
So far, he's raised a couple thousand bucks. But he needs more - quickly. He says, "The deadline, in all honesty, is now because I mean, my doctor's say 'it's a ticking time bomb before you hit your head.'"
The community is rallying around Joey. Several businesses, including Starbucks, Millers Gas Station in Pineville and the Exxon gas station at the corner of Pineville-Matthews Road and Carmel Road have let him sell his donuts on their property. We interviewed him at the Dive-In Restaurant in Pineville, where a fundraiser will be held for him next month. If you'd like to help Joey, go to www.joeyslegs.org.